Sunday, July 13, 2014

Great-grandmother Nichols

Elizabeth Perkins Stanley, known to family and friends as "Lizzie," grew up in Salem and lived there until she married Andrew Nichols (September 1861) and moved into the house he had built for her at 98 Preston Street, Danvers. Their marriage lasted 60 years, and the house, expanded in 1880 to accommodate their large family, lasted over 110 years. We called it "Pine Knoll."

I've heard stories about my great grandmother, and even have some of her love letters to Andrew (1856-1861), but of course I never met her.  I well remember her house and many of her children -- especially my grandfather William and my great aunts May and Margaret.  I've inherited a few of her spoons (see Spoons from the past).   

Here is an undated photograph of her, found recently in a box of Pine Knoll papers: 

 On the back of this photo is the following writing:

I also found the February 21, 1929 issue of the Salem Evening News reporting the "Death of Mrs. Nichols" on page 18.  Within a long report of Danvers doings, her obituary appeared under the heading "DIED IN 93D YEAR."  See below (click on the image to enlarge it). 

Salem Evening News, Thursday February 21, 1929
Below is an image of page 18, with ads and full text. This old newsprint page is very fragile, ready to crumble. I've preserved the message of the text by photocopying and photographing it. I know the old acidic paper won't last.
Click on image to enlarge it.
This week I've learned that a collection of my great-grandmother's letters exist in the Clements Library at the University of Michigan. That's a surprise!  I intend to contact the library and provide more information about her life, based on this obituary and other sources from her Pine Knoll home.

Some of her diairies (from 1885-1889) are in the Boston Athenaeum, according to this catalog entry on Worldcat. Description:  "Elizabeth Perkins (Stanley) Nichols, was active in many clubs and organizations in the Danvers-Salem area including the Unitarian Congregational Church of Danvers (of which she was a founder), the Danver's Women's Association, the Female Charitable Society, the WCTU, and the DAR. Her daily entries record her social and family connections, her interest in reading, gardening, and continuing education (attending lectures and serving on Salem Athenaeum committees), and local and national politics."


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy-this entry is of great interest to my 11-year old daughter Meredith, who just a few days ago asked about her great grandmother on my mother's side (Bernice Nichols, married to Dr. Andrew Nichols). I had to e-mail my mom to get a birth date (12/21/1896). We visited my family in Danvers recently and I took my son David, who is very interested in history, to the cemetery by Pine Knoll.

I also enjoyed your pond photos, as I spent many winter hours skating with neighborhood kids. I even had a birthday party there when my mom showed up with cupcakes and hot chocolate for the crowd.

Best regards,

Paul Clay

Sandy said...

Thanks Paul for writing. What was Bernice's maiden name? You might find out more about her via, a free online resource. I just did a quick search and found her listed in the 1930 and 1940 US Census records, which give her age, but not precise birthdate, so the FamilySearch record "estimates" 1897. Thus, good idea to keep the date loose (1896 to 1897) as you search, if you want to catch more records.